A Guest Review by Cole
Review Summary: A sweet story that waltzed its way into my heart (aww shucks).
When Hollywood electrician Todd Stewart is asked to help out on the hit show America’s Next Top Dancer, he’s thrilled at the chance to see his favorite competitor, Nathaniel Mayer, dance in person. While Todd loves watching the show, he’s always considered himself too big and clumsy to dance , but Nate is determined to teach Todd some moves—on and off the dance floor.
“Dancer and Sexy Big Man” is the story of Todd, a Hollywood electrician employed by the studio that produces the show America’s Next Top Dancer, a popular reality show that Todd watches religiously. He tried to find placement on the show after he became enamored with watching Nathaniel, a beautiful dancer who had captivated him week after week, but they didn’t have any openings. Then he gets a call when the show is in a bind and looking for some extra help and he jumps at the opportunity, knowing this is his one and only chance to see Nathaniel dance live. While working on the show, he not only gets to see Nathaniel perform, but by chance gets to meet him and finds that, unbelievably to him, the lithe and beautiful Nate (which he prefers to be called) seems to have a bit of a crush on him — all 6’2″, chubby, giant Todd. And when Todd nervously blurts out that he wishes he could dance like him, Nate offers to teach him. Thus begin their dance lessons and their opportunity to get to know each other.
I really love stories about awkward and self-conscious characters. Inevitably, I know that I’m going to get to read a story about someone finding the courage to come out of their shell. They seem to be the best characters, perhaps because they’re more relatable, or because love inspires them to become a better person. Its a bit shmaltzy, but in an “aww, how sweet” kind of way that, if done well, can be genuine and not saccharine. This story hovers right on the line of overly sweet, but doesn’t go all the way. If the dancing hadn’t been the focus of much of the story, I’m sure it would have been too much. But, because on a fundamental level, dancing is primal, it allowed me to see Todd and Nate connect in a way that is difficult to achieve in a short story. I have high standards for shorts, because it requires a lot more skill to pull one off successfully and truthfully. Thankfully, though the dialogue here was a bit too sweet at times, the dancing carried the story enough that I enjoyed it very much. It was a wonderful interlude to my day and I recommend it for those times when you need a bit of a break from a long novel or a particularly melodramatic or melancholy plot. Happily Recommended for a light read.